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No traffic problems for Aberdeen as Dundee are well beaten

Aberdeen striker Adam Rooney prods the ball into the empty Dundee net.
Aberdeen striker Adam Rooney prods the ball into the empty Dundee net.

As Scotland suffered travel chaos, Aberdeen found an easy route to Dundee’s goal at Dens Park on Saturday.

While the country tried to cope with the closure of the Forth Road Bridge, find jam-packed alternative options and deal with dreadful weather conditions, the Dons cruised to victory over the Dark Blues.

It would be harsh on the home side to say it was all one-way traffic but, at times in the first half at least, it seemed to be so.

The visitors’ midfield was superb and, at the heart of it all, Willo Flood was the man-of-the-match by a country mile.

Arguably the most encouraging thing for the Dundee fans was the fact that their manager and players are fully aware that they were second-best for long spells.

There was no self-delusion after the final whistle and at least that ensures there will be serious determination to put things right at Motherwell this Saturday.

Captain James McPake said: “There is no complaint about this result because Aberdeen deserved to beat us.

“You can learn from any game and we have to do that from this one.

“We have to try and be better next week and start winning games of football.”

His boss Paul Hartley added: “The first half performance was not acceptable.

“I felt Aberdeen were more dominant than us.

“They outplayed us in the first half.

“We couldn’t get to grips with the pace they played at and gave away too many set-plays.

“It was too easy for them.

“I felt we played better in the second half, created chances and worked their goalkeeper a bit more.

“But, overall, it wasn’t the best performance from us. Aberdeen deserved to win.”

Dundee should have had a penalty at 1-0 when Nicky Low was fouled inside the box rather than outside it.

However, that didn’t seem to matter because the Dons were so much on top.

Indeed, McPake said: “You are looking for a decision to go for you but, for me, it doesn’t really matter and I can’t even remember it to be honest.

“It’s all ifs and buts.”

Hartley added: “Nicky’s foot is inside the box so it was probably a penalty.

“But it was a hard one to call and I don’t think it changed the game.”

The Pittodrie team bossed the first half with their superb midfield and while the home team battled hard they never really looked like clawing their way back.

The Dons took the lead after only nine minutes when Niall McGinn shot home from 12 yards, with the low strike giving Dundee keeper Scott Bain no chance.

Hartley’s side were being pinned back by the opposition but they should have had a golden chance to level on 16 minutes when Low was fouled by defender Andrew Considine.

Referee Bobby Madden initially let play go on but then pulled it back.

Instead of awarding a penalty, though, he gave Dundee a freekick just outside the box when the offence had taken place inside the area.

The Dens men fell two behind after 25 minutes.

Dithering in a dangerous area by midfielder Paul McGowan encouraged Kenny McLean to come and take the ball off him and the Aberdeen man duly obliged.

He then played it to Flood, who fed Jonny Hayes on the right side of the box.

Hayes fired a low shot across the face of goal and Adam Rooney was there to score with a simple tap-in from a yard out.

It was sloppy play by the home team in general and McGowan in particular.

After the break, Kevin Holt missed a great chance for Dundee at the back post when he drilled the ball across the face of the Aberdeen goal and out.

Dons sub Peter Pawlett then rattled the home bar with a strike from inside the box.

Dark Blues’ frontman Kane Hemmings stung the hands of Aberdeen goalie Danny Ward with a vicious shot in the final minute but there was no further scoring and the away team headed back up the road happy with three points that edged them closer to leaders Celtic.

Rooney, the scorer of the Dons’ second goal, was delighted with the day’s work.

He said: “We wanted to make sure that we started the game well and, thankfully, we did that.

“I think we got at them right from the beginning and we pressed them well.

“We were 2-0 up at half-time and it possibly could have been a bit more than that they way we performed.

“In the second half we were just seeing the game out.”

Asked about the Dons’ high tempo, the Irishman added: “That came right from the back because we were winning headers and the defence pushed right up.

“The conditions were difficult because of the wind so the lads made sure they won the balls.

“In the midfield we dominated and that gave us momentum going forward.

“We have to takes the positives out of this while also hoping to improve.

“We are looking at what we did last season and want to do even better than that.

“That has always been what the gaffer has wanted, to improve year on year.

“I think we are slightly ahead of where we were this time last year.

“If we can improve on last time then that will mean we have had another really good season.

“I think we should not be looking at league positions but just looking at ourselves and how we’re doing.”